Updated 1-:48 am CDT
An adult child outside the statute of limitations tells the administration of the two Modern Orthodox synagogues his father attends that his father is a pedophile who sexually abused him during much of his childhood.
Family members are aware of the allegations, some since shortly after the alleged abuse took place. One family member, the adult child's mother, even allegedly witnessed a brief molestation incident but brushed it off.
The adult child believes his father is at a relatively low likelihood to reoffend due to age and infirmity. But he still believes the two synagogues need to take steps to protect the children who attend.
The first synagogue, which the adult child's parents attend only rarely and in which they are not well known, is open to investigating the situation.
But the second synagogue, located within a Jewish community in which the alleged child molester has been prominent and well liked for decades, isn't. It says it isn't an investigative body and encourages the adult child to report the alleged molestation to police. The synagogue's rabbi characterizes the allegations as a family matter and offers to counsel the entire family. But the synagogue will not admit to taking specific steps to protect children from the alleged molester and treats the alleged victim as more of nuisance than as a former congregant who may be a victim of a horrible crime.
The sad reality is that as long as our laws governing child sex abuse remain structured in a way that favors abusers, with statutes of limitations that are far too short, cases like this will continue to happen. And while not every accused molester is guilty, keeping a far-too-short statute of limitations only serves to ensure that more children – perhaps your children – will be needlessly abused.
Update 10:53 am CDT – The alleged victim now tells me he is within the civil statute of limitations, something he did not make clear previously, but hasn't sued his father because he's been told that "could be very difficult.[…]I can't bring the lawsuit without an attorney to represent me, and from my discussion with an attorney who does this type of work[…]I'd be unable to get one on commission. And I can't afford one on my own."